Winter conditions can be seriously bad for our health, especially if you are aged 65 or older, or have a long-term health condition. Cold weather can make existing health problems worse and make us more vulnerable to common winter illnesses. Being cold can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Here are some things you can do to stay well this winter.
Make sure you get your flu jab
The flu virus can be far more serious than you think and can lead to serious complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia and can be deadly. The flu season usually starts in December and NHS England are advising people to get protected as soon as possible.
The flu vaccine is free if you are:
- 65 or over
- Aged 6 months- 65yrs with a long term condition
- Child aged 2-3yrs or in school year reception 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5
- A carer, either formal or informal
Here to help you stay well this winter
Call 111: if you need medical help fast, but it’s not life threatening. An NHS adviser will direct you to the right service in your area. NHS 111 is available free 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Ask a pharmacist: they are highly trained healthcare experts.
Visit a walk-in centre: mainly run by nurses who treat minor illnesses and injuries on the spot. You don’t need an appointment and they’re open outside office hours.
Contact your GP: If your GP is unavailable you will be redirected to an out of hours service
A&E departments: for life-threatening emergencies only. If you’re not sure call 111 first.
As well as the flu vaccination, the following can also help you stay well in winter
Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor
- Keep cold and flu remedies at home. If you start to feel unwell don’t wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist.
- Keep your living space warm, aim for above 18 degrees (65°F)
- Keep bedroom windows closed on winter nights
- Keep active when indoors: try not to sit still for more than an hour or so at a time
- Wear several layers of light clothes rather than one bulky layer
For more information and advice visit www.nhs.uk/staywell